This is the constant question for scholars, especially in teaching-heavy institutions: how do I make time for both teaching and research? Unfortunately maintaining that balance seems to be more difficult than ever.
With still a number of weeks to go before the end of term most lecturers are probably snowed under at this point, swamped by admin requirements, minutes of meetings, marking and student enquiries. The last thing on most people’s minds will be research, unless you have leave booked or are on sabbatical of course.
The sabbatical system doesn’t operate at my university and, according to an article in Chronicle this week (please click here) the situation is not much better in the States either, with leave and sabbaticals being squeezed and teaching loads being increased.
However, Gene Fant does highlight some ways to make it possible to do some research during term time. Here’s some tips (and by the way, you probably have to start planning now for next academic year to make sure you can protect your time like this).
– load your teaching into a few days (this works for me, I am only in my university office for 3 days per week, the other 2 days working from home. However you might find, as I do, that those other 2 days are spent doing mostly student admin and preparation and NOT research)
– load your teaching into one term or semester (thus allowing much more flexibility and free time in other terms).
-give your students fewer assignments (thus giving you less marking: while this might reduce your workload, it’s important to have a good pedagogical reason for this too).
-ask your department to cap numbers on your courses (again limiting marking loads and the numbers of repeat seminars that you have to do).
All this is especially important if you have a submission deadline coming up, you really have to go out of your way to protect your research time now. Gone are the days at most institutions when research leave would be handed to all staff automatically.